Johannesburg – Pitch Black Afro appeared startled when he entered the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court dock on Thursday afternoon.
The rapper, whose real name is Thulani Ngcobo, has been charged with murder, premeditated murder and defeating the ends of justice over the alleged killing of his wife, Catherine Modisane.
The Matofotofo hitmaker was co-operative with the magistrate, who explained the charges he was facing.
The case took a while to be placed on the court roll as the docket was still being decided on.
Magistrate Lucas van der Schyff told Ngcobo that he needed a legal representative for the case.
“I don’t have money,” Ngcobo said, indicating that he would be taking Legal Aid services to help him.
Van der Schyff explained that the minimum sentence for a murder conviction was life imprisonment.
State prosecutor Mzamo Mathe said the court could not go on with the matter as the investigating officer had to verify the accused’s home address.
The courtroom was packed with journalists. There seemed to be no family members, only a few friends.
Ngcobo, dressed in an olive green shirt and with his hair plaited into twists, looked around the courtroom trying to find familiar faces.
According to reports, Modisane died at a B&B in Bellevue, near Yeoville, on New Year’s Eve.
A man who did not want to be named said he was friends with the couple and wanted to support both of them.
“I am here to support Trisha and Thulani. The last time I saw him we were sitting and drinking and playing music. They were performing in Mpumalanga recently so they were playing the recorded tracks he was performing.”
The shaken man said he last saw the couple two weeks before the murder. “I didn’t expect that to happen. I don’t think it’s Thulani, I am not sure.”
The man said he had been friends with Ngcobo since they were teenagers and that Ngcobo had always had a short temper but wasn’t violent.
“He stuttered and that thing made him have a short temper.”
He said the couple had booked in at a B&B in Yeoville because of the constant travelling they were doing for performances.
Ngcobo handed some papers to one of his friends in the courtroom, asking him to take care of the documents.
Ngcobo, 40, is an award-winning rapper. His rise to fame in the early 2000s came after he was discovered by DJ Cleo. His Afro hairstyle was his trademark. He was known for his comical approach to music and his catchy rhymes.
He released his first album, Styling Gel, in 2004. The hits Pitch Black Afro, Izandla Phezulu, A Day in The Life and Matofotofo came from that album.
He released three more albums, Split Endz in 2007, Zonke Bonke in 2013 and Int’emnandi in 2014.
The media were not allowed to take pictures or video during the proceedings. The case was postponed to January 15 for a bail application pending verification of Ngcobo’s home address.
Modisane’s funeral was set to take place today in Meadowlands, Soweto, with a memorial service to be held on Saturday.